Thursday, December 16, 2010

More From the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture

Wyclef Jean On Stage
Wyclef Jean wowed the crowd of mostly young Senegalese at the World Festival of Black Arts the other night. He seemed so psyched to be performing in Dakar, and he gave it his all, blasting on all cylinders for a five hour, non-stop concert. Rock star, sweat-drenched charisma all the way! Wyclef thanked Senegalese President Wade several times for inviting 188 Haitian university students to Senegal to continue their studies following the devastating earthquake there. That's why he said he had to come here to return the favor. He wore the Haitian flag. He wore the Senegalese flag. He shouted "Haiti is Africa!" One of my favorite moments was when three of his musicians picked up vaccines (that's the long tin trumpets played in rara music for carnival) and did their hocketing thing to the front of the stage with Wyclef holding out his mic for them. When Wyclef picked up his guitar and played with his guitarist...sweet! The massive statue of the African Renaissance, Wade's s signature statement, loomed above the stage. Next time you have a chance to see Wyclef Jean, do it!

As a post-note: Our delegation was at the Presidential Palace for a ceremony, and afterwards outside on a balmy night. All the Haitian students were there. I chatted with some of them. They looked happy, healthy. I asked if they were learning Wolof and they gave the look of "Yeah but it's not easy." Bon chance! They are living proof that Haiti is Africa. We already knew that from the deep, deep Afro-Haitian culture but this is something special.

--Sean Barlow

Some more photos of the Festival:

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